Following objections by the public, including local musicians, to the planned shows in Lusaka and Kitwe by controversial Afrikaans singer Steve Hofmeyr, the National Arts Council (NAC) has acted by denying him clearance to perform.
NAC director Adrian Maanka told the Weekend Mail in Lusaka that the regulatory authority has received a number of objections from the public, and as such, has used the powers vested in it to reject an application for a permit.
Hofmeyr has made headlines in his home country, South Africa, for his remarks that are laced with racial overtones, prompting protests from the African National Congress (ANC) and festival organisers and sponsors to shun him.
However, the Greek Olive was planning to have Hofmeyr perform at the Hellenic Association of Zambia in Makeni and at Kitwe Playing Fields as well as making a cameo appearance at some event in Mufulira.
“We received a number of objections, so we decided not to give him clearance as the arts mother body. This is within the provisions of NAC’s Statutory Instrument number 129 of 1995 section 29 to 31. The rejection is based on his remarks which have angered people,” the NAC director said.
“We can’t guarantee his safety, and we have written to the police to inform them in case the shows go ahead. There is no guarantee that he will not repeat his remarks at the show. The organiser, if he so wishes, can appeal to the Minister [of Tourism and Arts].”
On Monday, veteran musician and arts administrator Brian Shakarongo officially wrote to NAC objecting to Hofmeyr’s intended performances.
Shakarongo said Hofmeyr has made headlines in South Africa for his remarks which border on.
“For example, he once tweeted on social media that ‘sorry to offend but in my books, blacks were the architects of apartheid. Go figure’. “And this has angered a lot of people, organisations, institutions and even the corporate world. As a result, he has been shunned by a number of organisations and sponsors,” he wrote.
“It is in this regard that I write to urge your good office not to issue clearance for Mr Hofmeyr to perform in this country, as doing so would be tantamount to supporting his views, which to some extent demean the black race and promote division and racism.
“It would also be defeating the whole purpose of fighting racism and apartheid to which all progressive artistes, people, institutions and governments have committed themselves. And you would appreciate that even in sport, racism is being condemned.”
Shakarongo advised the institutions that wish to invite Hofmeyr to consider getting another musician “among the many positive-thinking musicians who we believe are in abundance in South Africa”.